DEAR FATHER | The Magi were dedicated to seeking the highest truth

One of the most recent and thorough studies of the nativity of Jesus was done by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as the third volume of his "Jesus of Nazareth" series. This slim volume gives great insight and clarity to these questions and many others surrounding the birth of Christ.

EDITORIAL | With joy-filled hearts, let’s continue the Christmas celebration all season long

As we conclude the season of Advent, we enter into the true Christmas season. And with that, we must not let the celebration end.

As Archbishop Robert Carlson noted in this week's column, there was a huge anticipation leading up to the historic eclipse in August. After totality came and went, we quickly moved on with our lives.

With Christmas, we must resist the urge to move on. The culture sends its signs that Christmas is over, with the abrupt end of Christmas music on the radio, for example. By January, stores are stocked with items for Valentine's Day — and yes, even Easter.

FRENTE A LA CRUZ | Haga un plan deliberado para extender la celebración de la Navidad

A medida que celebramos la Navidad este año, mi pregunta es: ¿Cómo la mantendremos? ¿Celebraremos la temporada completa de Navidad, y no solamente un día?

¿Recuerda el eclipse en agosto? Hubo una gran preparación de antemano. A medida que el eclipse progresaba aumentaba la emoción. Entonces, 30 segundos después de que terminó la totalidad del eclipse, ¡todo el mundo simplemente se retiró!

BEFORE THE CROSS | Make a deliberate plan to stretch out celebration of Christmas

As we celebrate Christmas this year, my question is: How will we sustain it? Will we celebrate the whole Christmas season, and not just a single day?

Remember the eclipse back in August? There was a huge buildup beforehand. As the eclipse progressed, excitement mounted. Then, about 30 seconds after totality was over, everyone just walked away!

Simbang Gabi is Filipino Advent tradition honoring the Blessed Mother

Parishioners Kevin Eulalia, left, Fely Eulalia and Merlinda Eulalia served Filipino delicacies after a Simbang Gabi Mass Dec. 18. Simbang Gabi is a novena of Masses honoring Mary. The tradition of Simbang Gabi traces back to the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the Philippines about 500 years ago. At the time, they had a tradition of celebrating pre-Christmas novena Masses in honor of the Annunciation.

Lily Elznic has fond childhood memories of celebrating Simbang Gabi growing up in the Philippines.

She and her family, who lived about an hour outside of Manila, would head to church for Mass in the early hours of the morning — for nine days straight.

"With all our friends in the neighborhood, we'd all go to the church," she said. "Along the way we'd watch the (Christmas) lights on the houses. After Mass, there would be a line on the street with food vendors — all of our favorite foods. Every morning it was a celebration."

Study: Number of Americans who view Christmas as religious keeps eroding

WASHINGTON — The percentage of Americans who see Christmas as a religious holiday continues to slide across nearly all demographic lines.

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